This is an account of a murder in Westbury in the 1800’s It is an electronic copy of the original article hence the words are occasionally fragmented.
BRUTAL MURDER NEAR WEST- BURY. In our last issue we published a few par- ticulars we had received in reference to a most brutal murder that was perpetrated near Westbury on Thursday last. We have since learned the following particulars :—The name of the murderer is James Connelly, though he was also familiarly known as “Daddy Carrots.” He obtained his living by selling vegetables grown on a piece of land rented from a Mr. Mehigan, in the suburbs of Westbury, and in the locality known as the “Pensioners’ Bush.” He is said to be about 85 years of age, although many persons who have known him a number of years assert that he must be much older, as he frequently used to mention having taken part in the dis- turbances in Ireland in the year 1798, and has a distinct recollection of the Battle of Tara which occurred on 26th May of that year. He states that he is a native of Wales, but there is reason to believe that he is a native of the north of Ireland. He exhibits evident signs of imbecility at times, whilst at others he is quite the reverse, and when attending the inquest spoke very rationally of the circumstances connected with the murder; and his remark to constable Waller, when being conveyed to town, “that they would hang him as dead as a robin,” clearly showed that he was cog- nizant of the result that was likely to follow the diabolical deed of which he was guilty. Of the victim little is known, except that his name was John Burton, and he was supposed to be about 60 years of ago, and a labourer. The cause of the murder appears to have been over a dispute about a tree that was lying on Con- nelly’s ground. Mehigan asserted that although Connelly rented the ground he had no claim to the timber upon it; while Connelly on the other hand insisted that he had, and stated that he paid two shillings for the felling of the tree in question. Notwithstanding this, how- over, Mehigan sent the deceased (Burton) to split the tree up, with the intention of carting it away; and it is supposed, by the position in which the body was found, that while the poor fellow was at work with his back to Con- nelly’s house, prisoner crept up stealthily behind him and struck him a blow on the back of the head. The body of deceased was first discovered by a son of Mr. Motton, of Westbury, who only a few minutes previously passed the same spot, when he observed deceased at work. Upon finding the body young Motton called a man named Phalan, who, on arriving, re- quested Motton to at once report the matter to the police, which he did, and Mr. Mahoney, Superintendent of Police, immediately accom- panied him back to where the body was lying, and observing that life was extinct, directed Constable McGuire to take charge of it while he went for a dray to convey deceased to Mr. Lyall’s, Westbury Inn. During the time McGuire was waiting for the dray Connelly came up and said—”I paid for the felling of that tree: they wanted to take it away, but I wouldn’t let them. It was I that did it.” And in answer to the question from the constable as to what he did, he said “I killed him; I did it in a passion; I hit him on the back of the head with the pole of an axe,” and took McGuire into his place and pointed out the axe to him. McGuire then told him he arrested him for the wilful murder of John Burton, upon which pris- oner merely reiterated his former statements. An inquest on the body was held on the following day before J. P. Jones, Esq., Coroner, and the usual jury, of whom Mr. George Best was foreman, when eight wit- nesses were examined. Dr. McCreery deposed that upon examining the skull he found an angular wound that might have been caused by such an instrument as the axe produced. There was a fracture of the skull, part of which was beaten into the brain. Deceased must have been killed at once.—A verdict of wilful murder against James Connelly was returned. The prisoner, in answer to the charge, and after being warned by the Coroner that whatever he might say would be taken down in writing, and be used against him at his trial, then said he was guilty of the crime.—Connelly was brought to town on Saturday evening and lodged in the gaol, since which he has been exceedingly sullen, and refused to take his food. On Sunday he told Mr. Cox, the Governor of the gaol, that if he would give him his liberty he would take his dinner: of course the condition was not complied with. Connelly is said to have arrived in this colony in 1845, in the bark Mayda, which loaded wheat at this port for London, and was never afterwards heard of.
This is a news report from ABC news Tasmania regarding a shooting that occurred on the street behind Clients Westbury residence on the 28/11/2010 it may not be relevant as it is considered that the activity in question was occurring prior to this date however it is worth noting the occasion.
Jones St. Shooting (ABC News Report)
21-one-year-old Westbury man Nicholas Whiteley was shot about 9am (ADST) yesterday morning at a home in Jones Street, Westbury.
Neighbours said they heard a loud argument between Mr Whiteley and his girlfriend, Sheena Button, about 2am and that Ms Button had left a short time later with the couple’s baby.
But Ms Button told the ABC there had been no argument the day Mr Whitely was shot.
Police say Ms Button contacted them and asked an officer to meet her at the home so she could retrieve property.
The 57-year-old Senior Constable had entered the home before Ms Button arrived. Police say he twice called for back-up and used capsicum spray before firing his hand gun.
The Police Commissioner Darren Hine has visited the injured officer.
“He’s obviously very sore, he’s got severe bruising to his head and body but he’s recovering well,” he said.
Liberal MP Mark Shelton has stepped up calls for a ban on single officer patrols.
“It’s something that we need to address so our police officers aren’t put in this situation,” he said.
A neighbour, Margaret Shepherd, says a police woman came to her door.
“She wanted to know if we knew anything,” she said.
“She told us about it so we wouldn’t hear any rumours.
“She told us that the policeman was hit and he tried to use capsicum spray and he kept coming at him doing things so he shot him.”
The incident is now subject to a police and coronial inquiry.
The Examiner Newspaper electronic archive (1880-1973)
ABC News Tasmania
Northern Midlands Council
Colonial Tasmanian Family Links Database
Tasmanian Births Deaths and Marriages
Holy Trinity Cemetery Records
Tasmanian electronic Will and Estate archive
Tasmanian Electoral Roll records